WC Education Dept says it’s doing all it can to find space for unplaced pupils

The Western Cape Education Department said that it was doing everything it could to find space for hundreds of school pupils in the province.

Over 3,000 children in the province are in limbo, unplaced, even as the new school year enters its second day.

Year after year, the department sits with the same problem – finding space in classrooms for all school-going children.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer said that despite the department’s best efforts in preparing for the academic year, the issue was complex.

“It seems like it’s difficult for people to understand how complex the system is in education. You don’t make a plan in a year and it’s in effect. You don’t build a school in a year, you don’t plan a school in a year,” Schafer said.

She said that there’d been a backlog of almost 20,000 pupils over the last five years and budget cuts were not helping matters.

“It’s because you have to find a place, identify a site, sometimes you’ve got to buy a site, you sometimes have to get them rezoned, you have to build plans, and we have a 10-year plan for building schools because we know where the major growth areas are,” the MEC said.

She hopes that two new mobile schools in Bothasig and Fisantekraal will be completed by the end of the first term.

Four additional schools are under construction in Nomzamo, Klapmuts and Silversands